No. of books to mention in PS Watch

Mos Def
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#21
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#21
Two at most imo, one would be fine i think, unless both books are great... you will be dying for extra characters. Your brain will become a word shortening machine, you just wait and see.
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Ed.
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#22
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#22
I dare you to write you personal statement solely of quotes from your further reading :p: (oh and real quotes, not single words :ninja:)
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Pepe Le Poosh
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#23
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#23
I mentioned 1. (Wasn't at Cambridge though since I didn't apply) And only got asked about it at my last inerview when i'd pretty much forgotten about it, and the interviewer was like an expert in it. Grrrrrrrr. Got through it though and got an offer so musn't have been that bad!!
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W0bble
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#24
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#24
(Original post by Zoedotdot)
I didn't include any because I wanted flexibility at interview to talk about books that I'd read recently and thoroughly rather than the ones I'd read in September. I'm not sure it's exactly a requirement to include books in your PS...
So you didn't put on your PS books that sounded interesting, and then read them the week before the interview :rolleyes:
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Zoedotdot
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#25
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#25
(Original post by W0bble)
So you didn't put on your PS books that sounded interesting, and then read them the week before the interview :rolleyes:
No, because I knew that if I put something on that I hadn't read I probably wouldn't read it because it would become a chore and every time I picked it up I'd start panicking about interviews! And my panic attacks are not good I did however manage to talk about a book that I'd read one chapter of on the train on the way up:

Me: It seems almost a little satirical.
Interviewer: (in a voice indicating that this is the whole point of the book) Oh, it's very satirical.
Me: Oh...

Still got an offer though, after a billion more screw ups in that interview!
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ukebert
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#26
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#26
I didnæt put any on my PS. I might have put one or two on my SAQ (is that the right acronym?) but even then, it's not the most important thing. If anything it shouldnæt be "I read this book and that book and this is what I think of them" it should be "This is what I think, this book and this one were particularly helpful". If that makes sense.
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Chess Piece Face
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#27
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#27
Like Rudrax, I put two books in my PS (and one in the SAQ) but in the end I wasn't asked about them; I did have ideas of what I'd say about them if they did raise them in the interview, though. As has been said, they're certainly not a requirement.

If you do mention any books, I'd also say that it's a question of quality rather than quantity. For history, for example, mentioning one very interesting choice, like Carlo Ginzburg's The Cheese and the Worms , would be much more worthwhile than mentioning several clichéd choices like What Is History, In Defence Of History and possibly The Practice of History which have been cited on so many personal statements that they are likely to have the collective effect of making an admissions tutor groan.
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W0bble
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#28
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#28
(Original post by Zoedotdot)
Still got an offer though, after a billion more screw ups in that interview!
Everyone thinks they screwed masses of things up. The interviewers just push you and push you until you do...we were told before by our school that the better a candidate you were, the harder you were likely to find it.
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Zoedotdot
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#29
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#29
(Original post by W0bble)
Everyone thinks they screwed masses of things up. The interviewers just push you and push you until you do...we were told before by our school that the better a candidate you were, the harder you were likely to find it.
I'd heard that too, which worried me because despite the screw ups I loved my interviews and therefore thought that I couldn't possibly have got an offer :rolleyes:
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W0bble
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#30
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#30
(Original post by Zoedotdot)
I'd heard that too, which worried me because despite the screw ups I loved my interviews and therefore thought that I couldn't possibly have got an offer :rolleyes:
Lol. This probably shows any tips about Cambridge are pretty pointless...
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Zoedotdot
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#31
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(Original post by W0bble)
Lol. This probably shows any tips about Cambridge are pretty pointless...
Pretty much. I don't see the point in trying to glean things from other people's experiences to play the system or second guess the admissions officers. Just have a go and try to enjoy it while you're at it!
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Toscar
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#32
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#32
mention 13. no fewer. no more.
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Demoskratos7
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#33
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#33
I mentioned six, and two were discussed at interview.
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kashmir.noir
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#34
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#34
I didnt mention specific books, but authors, saying I progressed from one to the other, bla dee dah, but getting through the books only made me want to read more, which shows that there is something that attracts me to the subject.

Oh to add, the people I did quote that I did read, were totally obscure, and aparently very random, but very related.
And, one cliched one just for the effect. (Plato, if you really want to know)
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Chewwy
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#35
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#35
ok, i'm going to break with the conventional wisdom and say...

as many as possible.

it certainly worked for me. indeed, my PS is floating somewhere around this site, and i think i said something like i had "devoured all popular maths book", before then going on to mention about four rather obscure university level texts that i'd also worked through. as a complete coincidence, one of the books was written by the guy who'd been the phd supervisor of one of my interviewers. that probably helped.
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Jigglypuff
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#36
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#36
I'd say between 1 and 5 for an arts subject...I'm not going to try and advise on science or maths.

Some mention 1 and get in, I mentioned 5 and got in. Two were 'classic' texts, two were popular philosophy books (not very impressive or complicated but they're partly to do with how my interest in the subject started, so I thought they were worth a mention) and an introductory book that I linked to one of the other books I mentioned. They said in my interview they liked that I was well-read, but I doubt it influenced their decision *that* much. They did ask about a book on there, though...so make sure whatever you mention you a) can talk about confidently and b) perhaps re-read before interview. I re-read the main one, and looked for online summaries for another.

I wouldn't worry too much: mention between 1 and 5 on the personal statement, and then add the others on the SAQ they send you before interview. I mentioned another 5 on there. Mention your favourite ones on the personal statement, though, as they're more likely to ask about those...and more likely to re-read your personal statement than the SAQ I'd guess! Use the personal statement to direct the interview in the direction you'd want it to go (i.e. mention your favourite/most impressive books) and use the SAQ just to mention other books in order to show how well-read you are.
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skagitup
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#37
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#37
I think the trick is to name several authors that you enjoy - list them. You can then go into more intricate detail with a couple of books.
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shootbangfire
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#38
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#38
I'm not at Cambridge, but just a tip: if you have a really good, relevant book, but it's extremely long, choose another book. I put Richard Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale in and I have a feeling they asked me about one of the animals mentioned. Of course since the book goes back from humans all the way through evolutionary history it was a bit tough.
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ukebert
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#39
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#39
(Original post by Zoedotdot)
I'd heard that too, which worried me because despite the screw ups I loved my interviews and therefore thought that I couldn't possibly have got an offer :rolleyes:
:ditto:

There are no rules, no tips that work all the time
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User188463
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#40
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#40
Im gonna mention 4 or 5, and read all several times. For theology, though, Alistair McGraths 'introduction to Christian Theology' is probably the biggest biatch Ive ever read. its like (--------------------------------------------------------) that thick.
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